Folksinger, guitarist Jim Chaps operates from a niche in music that brings life to historical poetry. Jim’s new project, UNHINGED is available now at many music streaming services and with a special one-click full audio album available on YouTube .
The coffeehouse Jim played at in 1976, when he was 18 at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, was called The Hinge. Jim was born in Detroit and grew up in Dearborn as an avid sports fan, music fan and athlete. On UNHINGED Jim does a vocal impression of iconic Detroit baseball broadcasters Ernie Harwell and George Kell (calling a 1968 Gates Brown home run at Tiger Stadium.) This impression is at the end of You Are Here DNA Mix. Other Jim gems are embedded throughout the album: split ear simultaneous Spanish and English in chorus of Hora De Montar; using arched picks for distinctive guitar tones; attribution to Oliver Wendell Holmes as a co-writer (concluding verse) of Star-Spangled Banner.
Always enjoying the “Before and After” category on Wheel of Fortune, Jim started a “John Wooden Planks Challenge” at the beginning of 2017. He felt prompted to learn more about the legendary teacher and UCLA basketball coach, and came up with a plan. “Whatever day of the month it is, that’s how many minutes of planking I do while I watch and listen to YouTube videos of and about Coach Wooden,” Jim says. “I take Sundays off and yes, some days are better than others so I do the best of which I’m capable each day. I hope more people will try this, especially some of today’s teachers, athletes and coaches.” Jim plans on writing a feature article about the experience, “My Year of Doing ‘John Wooden Planks'” in early 2018.
With his brother Dave, Jim has designed, developed and patented arched guitar picks. “These are great and they encourage new players. They don’t slip or get dropped as much as the little triangular tip-picks. You just feel more freedom to pour into your music,” Jim says. The patented arched picks have no moving parts. “Each arc is one continuous object. They are great flat or three-dimensional. Like how trucks differ from cars, these arcs are different than picks,” Jim says. “Arch picks can empower people with hand injuries and other dexterity challenges like arthritis to play. They make better sense– it’s physics and leverage. I always sense something’s missing now if I go back to try the standard little tip picks.” For more information and to shop for arched guitar picks, “The trucks of guitar picks™” visit: GuitarArcs™ arched picks | Handlepick Innovations
Jim is also a member of the music group PeaceFoals (with band mates Cory Cocco and Brandon Zachary).
More about Jim Chaps music:
Jim’s album Triple Treat (2013) is a collection of original lyrics and some public domain words by obscure, historic poets. Jim composed new music for the words and presents them in acoustic coffeehouse-fashion. Among the songs are The Sea, an 1800’s-era poem learned by Jamaican school children and World Laughs With You, lyrics being the Ella Wheeler-Wilcox poem Solitude. The album showcases poetry and motion, Flow is a combination of Jim and Wheeler-Wilcox words, inspired by enjoyment of healthy living, yoga, sports and music. Jim plays acoustic guitars and guilele (pr. gui-LAY-lay) a hybrid guitar/ukulele throughout the album. Rippling Shore a soothing instrumental with a Mayan ocean drum creating sounds of the waves.
A PeaceFoals Holiday EP of four traditional Christmas songs streams steadily year-round ever since it was released in November, 2012. “It is amazing, we recorded it into a single microphone, totally old-school, one-take. Because the recording levels were a bit quiet, we pushed up on effects and reverb. Ends up really overprocessed yet through ear-buds the music has surprising appeal,” says Jim. “Plus, Brandon and Cory are so genuine—their emotion, spirit and vocals carry through. Cory goes low on Silent Night and you hear people comment – “Give us more Cory!’ Brandon’s arrangement, voice and guitar for Come On To Bethlehem is a modern classic. We’ll revisit that one for sure – it’s such a positive song and based upon the traditional O Come All Ye Faithful.”
Sub-titled Folk Music Renaissance, the Second album (2007) contains original music and lyrics You Are Here and Love at Second Sight and cover songs like Three Wooden Crosses (Recorded by Randy Travis, written by Doug Johnson and Kim Williams), Riding For A Fall (Chris LeDoux). New arrangements of traditional public domain songs: Acoustic National Anthem (Verse one of The Star-Spangled Banner by Key, music by Stafford-Smith), Old Kentucky Home (words and music by Stephen Foster) and Concord Hymn (words by Ralph Waldo Emerson; music traditional – ‘Old 100’ aka/melody of ‘Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow’). Jim’s live guitar and vocals of Acoustic National Anthem for a Grapefruit League game between the Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds, in Sarasota in 2005, sparked Jim’s quest to present Star-Spangled Banner as a full, contemporary song. Acoustic National Anthem 4-verses (2012) serves as a gap-project, leading to Jim’s discovery in 2013 of the fifth verse by Oliver Wendell Holmes (to complete the 1814-written words of Key) during The Civil War.
Jim’s project/cd First (2004, subtitled Fresh Folk Music) includes 12 original songs and begins with spoken words “Hello, I’m Jim Chaps and this is a song called New York for Firemen.” Jim performed New York For Firemen at the dedication of “Sean S. Hanley Way” (a firefighter victim of 9/11) on Staten Island June 19, 2004. Jim’s best-selling iTunes song the flamenco guitar solo, Man With Blue Guitar appears also on First. (The Wallace Stevens poem The Man With The Blue Guitar inspired the poems-to-music aspect of Jim’s songwriting.) This song has been remastered with added modern sound fx and appears on the “UNHINGED” album as “One With Blue Guitarra”.
Jim was born in Detroit. He began writing and performing in the 1970s. At age 18 he performed at The Hinge, a college coffeehouse at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. He has earned a masters degree and is patent holder with his brother Dave. Jim was a YMCA Healthy Living Director, enjoys sports, teaching and coaching and cherishes the writings of great poets. Jim lives in southwest Florida finding inspiration and beauty in Florida’s forests and coastal surroundings.
Media and press may use text, quotes and photo(s). Photo credit(s) are optional, attribute source JimChaps.com.